A win and your in. That’s all it would take. This was the thought process going into yesterday’s game. Everyone was fired up and there was a buzz in the air that has been missing for years.
As the game started Nazem Kadri was attacking with such force. It seemed that the Leafs were dialed in. It seemed that way for what was two shifts, because after that the Leafs seemed to have fallen asleep. A team that was known for being a complete threat on the powerplay could convert on a 4 mins extended PP. The entire first just seemed like a wasted opportunity but luckily the Leafs would exit the period unscathed, except for Dotchin’s dirty knee on knee hit of Matthews, the score tied 0-0.
As the second period started, again it felt like the Leafs were taking a backseat and instead the Lightning were bringing the game to their doorstep. They pressed continually until finally breaking the tie. With Roman Polak in the penalty box, the Lightning power play would go on to set up in Leafs zone and Palat would find an open Brayden Point, who rockets one past Andersen. The lead would not last long, shortly after Tyler Bozak would find an open Kadri who would tap it by Vasilevsky. This goal would offer a much needed sigh of relief. As Play would go on, the game ice would continue to feel tilted in one direction. If it wasn’t for Andersen making brilliant saves right left and centre, the Leafs would have been done for much earlier. Two plays would happen off the face off. One would find the puck on Nikita Kucherov’s stick, who manages to squeeze the puck past the narrowest of openings short side on Andersen to make the game 2-1. The other would lead to Drouin going in all alone and Andersen making a brilliant save.
The period would end and the game felt pretty much done.
The third was a complete train wreck. Within 2 mins the Lightning would score a goal that should never have happen. Sustr working the puck in deep would find an open Bournival, who would throw the puck in a wide open net. That was the dagger through the heart of Leaf fans. The Leafs would press on but the writing was on the wall. The game just seemed to be passing the Buds by and all we could do is watch. The game would come full circle, with Brayden Point again walking in and firing a shot past Andersen making it 4-1.
It’s funny the Leafs needed to get 2 points out of the game but instead were destroy by 2 goals by Point. I think there’s a bit of irony in there somewhere.
There’s not much to say about last night except that we weren’t good enough. Simple as that. The Leafs just weren’t good enough and this weekend becomes do or die. Yes, they still have a good chance of making it but no we didn’t need to be in this position. That’s what hurts the most.
See you Saturday, Pittsburgh.
SCORING BY PERIOD
Tampa Bay Goal 7:34 B. Point (15) (power play) assisted by O. Palat and V. Hedman
Toronto Goal 9:42 N. Kadri (32) assisted by M. Hunwick and T. Bozak
Tampa Bay Goal 11:50 N. Kucherov (39) assisted by V. Hedman
Tampa Bay Goal 2:00 M. Bournival (2) assisted by A. Sustr and V. Hedman
Tampa Bay Goal 14:11 B. Point (16) assisted by O. Palat and J. Dotchin
SHOTS BY PERIOD
MIKE BABCOCK POST GAME SCRUM